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Tablet Pc's

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Lonny Hogan

Sophomore Member
Mar 31, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
There is a new product on the market called the Tablet PC. Its basically a palm pilot and Laptop computer rolled into one. I called ACI about using these with their software and they say no problem as long as your using the APEX sketching instead of the winsketch. This looks like a marvelous product that could greatly increase turnaround time, but I thought I'd go for some insight.

All opinions and responses welcome


Junior Member
Jan 24, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
There was some disscussion of the tablet PC's here a couple of months ago.

I have been looking for them at retail stores, but no one seems to have them. I have seen 1-2 used ones for sale on ebay.

I have not seen anything, but I have a hunch that the touch screen may be giving the manufacturer's some quality control problems. I think that a few of the posters on this board are using them.

Randy Beigh

Senior Member
Jan 16, 2002

This is the direction I believe we will be going, but I have not done it, yet, for the following reasons.

1. They are in the first generation. They will improve with time.

2. They look flimsy for working in the field with. At almost $2,500, the last thing you want to do is drop one of these. Very scary thought and yet I am aware that they will get dropped. But, currently, they don't look they could withstand that.

3. The handwriting is only about 60%, but it will improve with next generations

4. They are to expensive.

I think within the next year or 2, these will be the only way to go and am watching the development fairly close.


Junior Member
Jan 29, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
to add to Randy's list --

5. There are few tablets currently available with screens that can be seen outdoors in full sunlight. (To be viewable in sunlight make sure to look for a transvlective screen).

Do you really need a full computer for field work?

I've been using a Pocket PC with Pocket Total and Pocket Apex since January. I've found that the Pocket PC is adequate for what I need while out in the field, but Pocket Apex does take some time to get used to. But then I also love the Disto. :wub:


Travis McGee

Senior Member
Sep 18, 2004
:D I bought a Toshiba 3505 about 3 weeks ago and am very happy with it. I est. 1 hr time saving per report. No prob. on the screen, just step into shady area. Why full laptop instead of Pda? Beautiful day, did the inspection, went to the lake, cast out a line, did the report, sent it edi, caught a catfish. Now thats double dipping! :beer:

Jeff Horton

Senior Member
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
Originally posted by jimapp@Apr 26 2003, 04:47 AM
Beautiful day, did the inspection, went to the lake, cast out a line, did the report, sent it edi, caught a catfish.
What do you use for internet? Wireless connection or internal modem? Or something else?

Nikki Dufala

Freshman Member
Mar 29, 2003
i have been checking into the tablet PC's and have recently read an article on the pro's and con's. The article stated that they were heavy, VERY slow, got hot fast and not real good in sunlight.

I have to agree with Randy, just wait, in time the will become more reliable, easier to work with and less expensive.

John Sokol

Freshman Member
Apr 30, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
I recieve a newsletter from Kim Kommando and here is what she has said about them. It made my mind up aabout them I will wait awhile.

"MY WEEKLY COLUMN: A Look Beyond the Tablet PC Hype

The big buzz in the computer industry is the Tablet PC. Microsoft
touts it as a must-have item. So what is this machine, and is it right
for you?

A Tablet PC is a portable computer about the size of a clipboard. Most
Tablets run about $2,200 and usually, that price does not include such
essentials as a mouse, keyboard, or CD drive. A docking station also
is extra and you'll want it.

Docking stations stand the Tablet up, so it can be used on a desk. They
include extra USB and networking ports. And they also often include a
CD drive. Bringing a Tablet up to usable standards will raise its cost
to $2,500 to $3,000, depending on the make.

Microsoft claims that a Tablet PC is a replacement for a desktop
computer. Laptops have served this purpose for many years. But Tablet
PCs are a much iffier proposition, because they just don't have much
power. Most Tablet PCs are powered by an Intel Mobile Pentium III
microprocessor. Compared this to a lower-end laptop and you are paying
twice as much for a less powerful machine.

The Fujitsu Stylistic ST4110 was tested for this review. The comments
in this review refer to Tablets in general and their operating system,
not the Fujitsu in particular.

The Tablet's big selling point, besides its portability, is its
supposed ability to recognize handwriting. You use a stylus to write
directly on the screen. And the special edition of Windows XP, used in
every Tablet, translates handwriting to text.

If you're an inspector, for example, it would be very useful to walk
around and write notes directly onto your computer. This would save
considerable time. Imagine no longer having to double your work by
writing your notes on a pad and then typing those notes into a report.

That assumes the handwriting recognition works. If you write in long
hand, you'll find yourself spending more time correcting the converted
text than if you had just typed it in. In fact, it's probably faster to
write out your notes on a pad and type them in later.

It's very difficult to go back to something you wrote hours or even
days later and try to figure out incorrectly transcribed notes.

Trying to edit on the fly also is exasperating. To edit without a mouse
and keyboard, Tablet PCs use "gestures." These are shorthand methods to
move your cursor. If you've used a PDA, you'll be familiar with them.

Commands such as backspace, enter and tab are all done with the stroke
of your stylus. But it's not as simple as it sounds. There's nothing
more frustrating than filling up an entire line with hyphens while
trying to make the backspace stroke.

The handwriting recognition program does not learn from the user;
rather, the user must bend to the program. There was a noticeable
difference between writing standing up and writing with the Tablet flat
on a desk. Recognition was more accurate on the desk.

However, if you have a desk available, you have enough space for a
keyboard. Even if the handwriting recognition improves, most people
will be able to type faster than they write.

Tablets are relatively light, usually weighing no more than 4 pounds.
It's very comfortable to cradle a Tablet in your arms and interact with
the stylus. However, there's a serious issue with glare. Often, the
screen is difficult to see if it's not at the correct--and often

So, what does this mean? Microsoft is pushing the Tablet hard as the
next step in computing. In reality, it is an expensive, underpowered
machine in search of a niche.

If you are a graphic designer and want to sketch your ideas out
directly into your computer, this could be a great tool. But the
average person is going to be much happier with a traditional computer."


Sophomore Member
Feb 25, 2002
Totally disagree............

My Toshiba 3505 ROCKS...............The "convertible" feature is what makes the Toshiba very convenient with the keyboard ability. I see the Tablet PC as the total desktop replacement and the next computer revolution. Sales are way above expectations and everybody is getting into the ballgame with their own tablet versions. There are waterproof, shockproof, and translusant Tablet's on the market these days. Wireless is taking over and I am about to post a "hot spot" sign in my front yard so anybody can use my Internet access. The handwriting works very good and better yet..........the voice recognition works very good. (Mine works well above 95% accuracy) Way enough power to run any program, any program. Apex will soon release a "tablet" version of their software and Bradford's already has a "tablet" friendly inspection form and tablet friendly functions.

You snooze you lose, I love my Tablet and am slowly implementing it as my desktop replacement. Tablet's will take over the world, just a matter of time. I am aiming for a 30% effeciency improvement and no more typing reports at night!

I am also gearing towards a totally paperless work file. Bradford's digital container technology lets me dump my comp pulls, CMA's, County Records, comp photos, scanned images, and XP's "Journal" notes right into my report and everything is in a nice neat little package. I can dump a huge massive comp pull into the report and pick out my comps at the inspection, a real time saver and no more goin back because of your subject property's 300 square foot addition that did not show up in County Records, you could always pull comps with a wireless card also.

Just a few ideas to help you guys out if you choose, I totally disagree with John's post and can tell you from first hand experience they are way off base.

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